Summary: Third in a series of sermons for dealing with difficult times.
"Handling the Hard Times" (Sermon #3)
TEXT: Heb 6: 16-20
· Thinking recently about how much our lives are like the weather
Ø Sometimes sunny, partly cloudy or clouds off in the distance, beautiful rainbow, rainy or a storm
( Get ready for the rain and storm – umbrella, raincoat, go inside, turn wipers & lights on
· Life is the same way
Ø Sunny, partly cloudy w/ small irritations/concerns to deal with, rain and storm clouds come
Ø How do we deal with them?
· 3rd in a series of five sermons on "Handling the Hard Times" - provide 10 handles
· Handle #1: Accept it as an appointment rather than an accident
· Handle #2: Accept it without knowing the reason why
· Handle #3: Believe God is in charge, even of the trial
I. HANDLE #4: ATTITUDE...HAVE THE RIGHT ONE
A. When in a trial - what is your attitude?
1. Negativism, pessimist, self-pity, "woe is me"
2. "Nobody loves me, Qbody hates me, I’m going out & eat worms."
a. Leads to complaining, criticism, arguments, blaming
b. Come across as sourpuss, crybaby, whiner
c. People avoid you
B. OR can have an optimistic attitude is based on a confidence in G
1. I Sam 17 by way of contrast shows this
2. Context is Goliath confronting Saul & Isarelite Army & defying the God of Israel; send one man out & fight; if I win we’ll become your servants; if he wins we’ll be your servants
3. That’s the challenge – note the contrast
4. Saul’s & Army’s response when hearing Goliath’s challenge
a. Vs 11: "On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul & all the Israelites were dismayed & terrified."
b. Vs 24: "When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear."
c. Afraid, intimidated, ran away
5. Contrast this w/ David’s response
a. Vss 36-37: (Speaking to Saul) "Your servant has killed both the lion & the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them because he has defied the armies of the living God. [Optimistic attitude - but why?] The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion & the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." [Optimistic attitude based on confidence in G]
b. Vss 47-48: "All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s & He will give all of you into our hands. As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him."
c. Israelites: afraid, intimidated, ran from Goliath
d. David: with confidence in G ran toward Goliath
e. Optimistic attitude was based on firm confidence in God
f. Attitude makes all the difference in the world & your attitude is under your control
g. Victory Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning, “We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of his freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
(IL) THERE IS A SHORT STORY BY G.W. TARGET TITLED "THE WINDOW" WHICH TELLS OF TWO MEN WHO WERE ROOMMATES IN A HOSPITAL ROOM. ONE MAN WAS ALLOWED TO SIT UP FOR AN HOUR EVERY AFTERNOON TO DRAIN FLUID FROM HIS LUNGS WHILE THE OTHER MAN HAD TO LAY FLAT ON HIS BACK. THE MEN WOULD TALK FOR HOURS. THEY DISCUSSED THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR JOBS, THEIR MILITARY SERVICE, & JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE. THE MAN WHO COULD SIT UP LOOKED FORWARD IMMENSELY TO THE HOUR EVERY AFTERNOON WHEN HE COULD PROP HIMSELF UP & LOOK OUT THE WINDOW BY HIS BED. EACH AFTERNOON HE WOULD DESCRIBE WHAT HE SAW TO THE OTHER GENTLEMAN. HE TALKED ABOUT HOW THE WINDOW OVERLOOKED A BEAUTIFUL PARK WITH A LOVELY LAKE. HE TALKED ABOUT THE SWANS SWIMMING ON THE LAKE & THE YOUNG CHILDREN PLAYING ON THE WATERS EDGE. HE DESCRIBED THE BEAUTIFUL TREES & FLOWERS THAT ADORNED THE LAKE. THE MAN ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM WOULD CLOSE HIS EYES & IMAGINE THE PICTURESQUE SCENE. AFTER SEVERAL DAYS OF HAVING THE BEAUTIFUL SCENES DESCRIBED TO HIM, HOWEVER, HE BEGAN TO WONDER, "WHY SHOULD HE HAVE ALL THE PLEASURE OF SEEING EVERYTHING WHILE I NEVER GET TO SEE ANYTHING? IT JUST ISN’T FAIR." LATE ONE NIGHT THE GENTLEMAN BY THE WINDOW BEGAN TO CHOKE & COUGH BECAUSE OF THE FLUID ON HIS LUNGS. WHILE THE SECOND MAN WATCHED HIS ROOMMATE STRUGGLE & GROPE FOR THE CALL BUTTON, HE NEVER USED HIS OWN BUTTON TO CALL FOR HELP. IN LESS THAT FIVE MINUTES THE MAN WAS DEAD. THE NEXT MORNING THE NURSES CAME IN & FOUND THE LIFELESS BODY OF THE MAN BY THE WINDOW. SOON THE BODY WAS MOVED & AS SOON AS IT WAS APPROPRIATE, THE OTHER MAN ASKED TO BE MOVED TO THE BED BY THE WINDOW. THE NURSE WAS HAPPY TO COMPLY WITH HIS WISHES & THE MAN WAS MOVED & MADE COMFORTABLE. SLOWLY & PAINFULLY THE MAN PROPPED HIMSELF UP ON ONE ELBOW TO TAKE HIS FIRST LOOK. FINALLY, HE WOULD HAVE THE JOY OF SEEING IT ALL HIMSELF. HE STRAINED TO LOOK OUT THE WINDOW BESIDE THE BED. AS HE DID SO, HE SAW NOTHING BUT A BLANK WALL.